Establishment and development of the Indian museum took place through five phases that are:
· First-Formative Phase (During Colonial Reign) 1796 – 1858
· Second Phase (The Victoria era) 1858-1899
· Third Phase era of Lord Curzon and John Marshall) 1899- 1928
· Fourth Phase (pre-Independence era) 1928 – 1947
· Fifth Phase (post-Independence era) 1947 – 2017
The first phase occurred in 1814 that marked the establishment of India’s first museum at Asiatic Society in Calcutta. The museum was encompassed: Archaeological and Ethnological; Geological and Zoological
Asiatic Society's main objectives were to form centers for studies and research of the history of India. Twelve more museums came into existence in India by the end of 1857.
The second phase (Victoria era), was marked by the end of India’s first independence war that ended in 1857 when the parliament of England took charge of India. Despite the disruption of museum developments, a few developments were noticed in 1861 by the formation of the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) Some of the English culture and celebration led to the birth of more museums that were formed to honor Victoria like the celebration of golden and diamond Jubilee years of Queen Victoria in 1887 and 1897.
The third phase ((the era of Lord Curzon and John Marshall) 1899-1928 that can be attributed to the efforts of Lord Curzon and John Marshall who initiated the development of museums established in the places like Agra (1906), Delhi fort (1909), Lahore fort, and an excavated sites of Ajmer (1908), Chamba(1909), Jodhpur(1909), Gwalior(1910), Khajuraho(1910), Nalanda(1917), Taxila(1918), Sanchi (1919), Mohenjodaro, Harrapa(1926) and Dhakka (now in Bangladesh) (1931) and so on.
Fourth Phase (pre-Independence era) 1928 – 1947. Important museums that were set up by ASI was called Central Asian Antiquities museum in 1929 at New Delhi that housed the excavated remains gathered by Sir Aurel Stien, a Hungarian officer of the ASI.
Second world war interrupted the Museum movement but Mortimer Wheeler being the appointed Director general of ASI between 1939-1945 focused on the development of the Indus Civilization.
The fifth phase is attached to the fourth phase that is only aimed at the preservation and conservation of the old museums.